Guidance

Healthcare for UK nationals living in Austria

How to get state healthcare if you live, work or study in Austria.

This information is about living in Austria. There’s different guidance if you’re visiting Austria.

Austria has a state health insurance fund (Österreichische Gesundheitskasse) that you pay into each month to access state healthcare.

You may still have to pay on top of this to use some parts of the healthcare system.

At the moment, UK nationals usually access the Austrian healthcare system in one of these ways:

  • paying for state health insurance through your employer
  • paying for state health insurance directly
  • using a UK-issued EHIC for temporary stays
  • registering a UK-issued S1 with the state insurance fund

The S1 certificate entitles UK nationals access to state healthcare on the same basis as an Austrian citizen. You’re entitled to an S1 if you receive a UK State Pension or certain other benefits. Find out more about the S1.

Healthcare during the transition period

There will be no changes to healthcare access for UK nationals visiting or living in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland before the end of 2020.

You can continue to use your EHIC during this time, as you did before.

If you’re living in Austria or move there permanently before the end of 2020, you’ll have life-long healthcare rights in Austria as you do now, provided you remain legally resident.

You may need to register or apply for residency. This guidance explains what you need to do in Austria depending on your circumstances.

Healthcare if you live and work in Austria

You must register as a resident if you’re living in Austria.

If you’re employed or self-employed in Austria it’s compulsory to have health insurance.

If you’re not working, you should take out voluntary insurance.

You can add your dependants to your insurance plan.

Your insurance begins on the day you took out the insurance, but there can be a waiting period of 6 months before you can claim any benefits from your insurer.

There will not be a 6-month wait if you were already resident in Austria and you were insured in another way, either:

  • for the 6 weeks before you took out insurance
  • for 26 weeks at any point in the year before you took out insurance

How to register

You first need to register as a resident.

You’ll be signed up automatically for healthcare insurance if you’re employed.

If not, contact the local branch of the Österreichische Gesundheitskasse.

Once you’ve registered you will be given a card called an ‘e-card’. Show this when you visit a doctor. You do not need to register with a doctor in Austria.

This card also gives you access to online services. Your EHIC is on the back.

How much you’ll pay

Your monthly payment increases with your salary and varies across Austria. Look for a doctor’s surgery that says:

  • Kassenarzt (‘contracted doctor’)
  • Alle Kassen (‘all insurers’)

You will not have to pay to see these doctors.

You will still have to pay for some medical services, for example:

  • 20% of the cost of seeing a private doctor – your insurance scheme should reimburse the rest
  • a fee of around 10 to 15 euros for each of your first 28 days in hospital

Healthcare during the transition period if you live and work in Austria

There will be no changes to healthcare access for UK nationals in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland before the end of 2020.

If you’re living in Austria or move there permanently before the end of 2020, you’ll have life-long healthcare rights in Austria as you do now, provided you remain legally resident.

This means you’ll also have the right to apply for a UK S1 if you start drawing a UK State Pension.

You may need to register or apply for residency depending on your circumstances.

If your UK employer has sent you to Austria temporarily (‘posted workers’)

A posted worker is someone who is employed or self-employed in the UK, but temporarily sent to another European Economic Area (EEA) country.

Currently, posted workers can use an EHIC or an S1 certificate to access Austrian healthcare.

HMRC has a helpline for National Insurance enquiries from non-UK residents. This can answer questions about posted worker status and explain which documents you will need to get healthcare while posted.

Healthcare during the transition period if you’re a posted worker

There will be no changes to healthcare access for UK nationals in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland before the end of 2020.

You can continue to use your EHIC or S1 during this time, as you did before.

UK-funded healthcare: getting and using an S1 in Austria

You may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK if you live in Austria and receive either:

  • a UK State Pension
  • some other ‘exportable benefits’

Not all UK benefits that can be claimed while abroad entitle you to UK-funded healthcare. Read more about claiming benefits if you move abroad or contact Jobcentre Plus to ask about a benefit.

You may also be entitled to an S1 if you’re a posted worker or a frontier worker (someone who works in one state and lives in another). You must contact HMRC National Insurance enquiries to find out if you’re eligible.

Once you have an S1 certificate, you must register it on the Austrian system.

This will mean you and your dependants will be entitled to healthcare on the same basis as an Austrian citizen.

How to get an S1

If you have a UK State Pension, you must request an application form by phone from NHS Overseas Healthcare Services.

NHS Overseas Healthcare Services
Telephone: +44 (0)191 218 1999
Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm

How to use an S1 in Austria

You must register your S1 with the state health insurance fund (called ‘Österreichische Gesundheitskasse’ in German).

Once registered, you’ll be given a card called an ‘e-card’. This shows that you’re entitled to healthcare on the same basis as an Austrian citizen.

Show this when you visit a doctor.

This card also gives you access to online services. Your EHIC is on the back.

Healthcare during the transition period if you use an S1

There is different guidance if you have an S1 as a posted worker.

There will be no changes to healthcare access for UK S1 holders in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland before the end of 2020 if you’re either:

  • someone with an exportable UK State Pension
  • someone with another ‘exportable benefit’
  • a frontier worker (someone who works in one state and lives in another)

If you’re living in Austria or move there permanently before the end of 2020, you’ll have life-long healthcare rights in Austria as you do now, provided you remain legally resident.

This means that you’ll get:

  • continued access to healthcare in Austria using your UK-issued S1
  • a UK-issued EHIC for travelling to other countries in the EU
  • planned treatments in other EU countries via the S2 route

You may need to register or apply for residency depending on your circumstances.

Moving back to the UK

If you return to the UK permanently you will be able to use the NHS like any other UK resident.

Read more about using the NHS when you return to live in the UK.

Studying in Austria

You can apply for a student EHIC. This is different from a normal EHIC, and entitles you to cover for longer.

An EHIC is not a replacement for travel insurance. You should also have insurance to cover the duration of your course.

You can also choose to register for state health insurance and pay the student rate. You’ll need to register as a resident first.

Healthcare during the transition period if you’re studying in Austria

There will be no changes to healthcare access for UK nationals in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland before the end of 2020.

You can continue to use your EHIC during this time, as you did before.

If you started studying in Austria before the end of 2020, your student EHIC will be valid for the rest of the time you study there.

Published 23 September 2019
Last updated 31 January 2020 + show all updates
  1. Details on the ways that you access healthcare have been updated. The guidance now only covers living, working and studying. Information on visiting has been moved to: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/uk-residents-visiting-the-eueea-and-switzerland-healthcare

  2. First published.